Neoprene neck gasket

I have really enjoyed using a drysuit for the past couple years but this summer when the neck gasket blew open I lost a lot of faith in the latex material. I took very good care of the latex gaskets and after my neck gasket blew apart I wanted to find another type of gasket that I could trust my life on. After researching different types of neck gaskets used for diving and kayaking drysuits I decided to try making a gasket out of 1mm neoprene with nylon on one side and Glideskin on the other. The neoprene is very stretchy and slides easily over the head. It is completely waterproof after doing many rolls and is much more comfortable than the latex gasket. I thought I would post this message in case anyone else would like to try installing one on their drysuit. I put together a webshots album of what I did and would like to hear any ideas or comments that could make it better.

I admire your ingenuity and skill, but
neoprene neck gaskets are not, as a class, highly unreliable.

Unfortunately, unexpected failure of a neoprene neck gasket is like unexpected failure of a quality wooden paddle. Quite unlikely, but it may happen, for hidden reasons not controllable by the maker or the user. Wooden paddles may have hidden weaknesses that the builder did not detect. Neoprened neck gaskets may have hidden “grain” weaknesses that cannot be spotted.

I have a drytop with a “semi-dry” neck gasket, but there are places where only the neoprene version is dry enough for whitewater submersion. I hope your gasket approaches that level of performance.

Quite a craftsman!!
It looks so professionally done. You may have found the improvements needed to make the bridge between the tightness and uncomfortable feeling some people get from latex and the lack of a water proof fit most people get from neoprene. I am one of the WORST DIY people on the planet. Even though the pictures are worth a thousand words could you add a bit more verbal explanation to the pictures which provide more detailed step by step instruction? Someone like me would find that helpful. Thanks for the post.

I’ll go back and try to add more
wording to what I did but if your interested in trying to make one you can send me an e-mail and I would happy to talk to you.

do I smell a magazine article coming on?
Publish, publish, publish!

The photos are great.

My only question would be–aren’t you reinventing the wheel? Kokatat already offers a semidry suit with a neoprene neck. Although I’ve never tried to order that option, presumably you could get a neoprene replacement from them.

I haven’t seen a neoprene
neck gasket that has this much stretch but I talked to the people at Stohlquist and they say their neoprene neck gasket seals very well and is comfortable. Kokatat said they could only put a new latex gasket in my drysuit so I thought I would try to come up with something myself.

Great Job
Thanks for posting!

Stolquist is optomistic
at least in my experience. My Stolquist bPod let in unacceptable amounts of water. They were very good and had me return it to have another collar installed. (no charge) They installed a smaller neck gasket but it still lets in some water. My Kokotat with the latex gasket is totally dry.

I’m hoping that
one of the major drysuit manufacturers gives this product a try so they can provide a more dependable product.

latex gasket lifespan
even well cared for latex gaskets need to replaced every couple years in my experience. your fix looks awesome by the way. you’ve definitely got some skills, but i still think that latex makes a better skill than neoprene no matter how you do it at least in my experience.

You would have to see
this material to really appreciate it. It isn’t like other neoprenes I have worked with and it does seal %100 after much rolling. Most neoprene with nylon on both side will let water wick in along the nylon but this type has a material called Glideskin that seals like latex.

Don, Help!
Hi Don,

I had read this post when it originally came out and had some interest in it at the time. Yesterday I blew my latex neck gasket and was curious about the neoprene option. I tried to follow your link, but it’s not working.

Then I tried to e-mail you to request another link or a copy of your instructions, but the e-mail got kicked back.

Could you re-post a new link or e-mail me your instructions before I order another latex gasket. I would at least like to explore the neoprene option.

Thanks in advance,